There are no such things like an absolute starting-point or a crucial turning-point in the history of science. Mostly, these so called “starting points” are only reinforcements and exhibitions of already-present ideas that have previously challenged the common paradigms, or the acknowledged intellectual representations of Nature. During the 17th and the 18th centuries, the idea of infinity spread all over the sciences of nature and of mathematics, imposing itself in the cultural sphere, breaking the boundaries of a formerly “closed world”. Geometry thus became the science of the infinite space in itself, physics dealt with the infinitely great and the infinitely small, the idea of matter as a merely passive compound was challenged with the concepts of subtle aether or immaterial force, etc. The unfathomable infinite space or universe became an object for thought, theories, observation and experiments. Nearly three hundred years later, could this large movement of finite/infinite dialectics renew the way mankind is questioned nowadays? still unable to embrace the whole universe, but aware of the smallness of Earth, ignoring its real place and final direction in an age of secularization, but trying to outline a sustainable future, mankind has to face some philosophical issues about its nature and limits, and to confront some intense feelings regarding its undeniable weakness and limited powers, albeit real. The symposium’s aim is to show the connection between some specifics in the development of science in the 17th and 18th centuries and the anthropological questionings it brings about and, in doing so, to open a meaningful dialogue between the history of science and the history of philosophy.
Submissions should take the form (PDF) on an abstract (max. 500 words) with a title.
Deadline : 19 February 2024
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